Leroy joins Oklava and Hill & Szrok in scrapping service charges

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Leroy joins Oklava and Hill & Szrok in scrapping optional service charges

Related tags: Service charge, Restaurant, tronc, Coronavirus, Job Retention Scheme

Wine bar and restaurant Leroy in London's Shoreditch is the latest business to announce it will no longer be adding a service charge to its bills.

In an Instagram post​ yesterday (6 July), the Michelin-starred restaurant said the discretionary element of the charge 'suggests that service is something that is not integral to the experience'.

It said: "We believe in the dignity of this profession and there was always something undignified about the service charge.

"While the discretionary part of it did, at least, mean that restaurants did not pay VAT on service charge, it suggests that service is something that is not integral to the experience.

"We will be reopening Leroy without a service charge. We believe it is an idea whose time has come and that more restaurants across the UK will make the case for it."

It comes after yesterday's report​ that London restaurants Oklava and Hill & Szrok both independently announced that they will be no longer add a 12.5% service charge to bills, and will instead be incorporating the cost into menu prices.

Both businesses say they decided to make the change after staff members were left out of pocket during the lockdown as a result of the Government's policy not to include tronc payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS).

While, in theory, the JRS is meant to allow employees to be furloughed and still receive 80% of their wage up £2,500 per month, the decision to exclude tronc payments meant many staff within the hospitality sector have actually been receiving far less.

Leroy added that it chose to never operate a tronc system for 'several reasons'.

"It always seemed unfair to us that the vagaries of our business and any mishaps along the way should fall on our staff.

"That the value of a shift in January, when bills are higher, should be less than one in June.

"It’s hard enough having to manage your finances without finding out that you are going to make less one month just because the business didn’t do so well or Summer holidays coincided with a flood that meant your restaurant was closed for the days. While many hospitality staff struggled through lockdown, our staff were paid 80% of their wages."

Related topics: Business

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